Somat Engineering, Inc. (Somat) has successfully completed thousands of infrastructure engineering projects for government and private clients since our founding in 1986. From the smallest scope and budget, where the client simply needs a quick materials test performed, to design and construction oversight of projects with construction costs over $1 billion, we endeavor to provide the same attention to detail and outstanding service, regardless of project size.
Our team is particularly intrigued by the most challenging engineering problems in need of an innovative and efficient solution. While this may not always be the cheapest option, we work hard to put forth what will be the most cost-effective and sustainable solution over the life cycle of a project or asset.
As any business can attest to, things don’t always go as planned and mistakes can be made. It is in those situations where Somat’s umbrella philosophy of Do The Right Thing and corporate values, including “Take Responsibility,” matter most. We will always put the needs of our clients first and make things right. Our licensed professional engineers, environmental scientists, geologists, and certified technicians also develop long-term relationships with our clients and partners by working closely with them throughout the life of a project.
Learn more about some intriguing projects we have performed below.
M-1 Rail (QLine)
Detroit’s new light rail system is a public-private partnership (P3), aiding the revitalization of a great American city once in decline. This $140 Million project consists of the design and construction of a new 3.3 mile long HMA/concrete roadway and overhead contact system streetcar (the QLine) along the main artery of Woodward Avenue in Detroit. The QLine runs along both sides of Woodward, and includes 12 stops and a streetcar maintenance facility. The roadway portion is a complete reconstruction of the 8-lane roadway consisting of both hot mix asphalt and concrete pavement. Additional upgrades include utilities, street lighting, sidewalks, and drainage improvements. The design also accommodates future expansion to outlying suburbs.
Somat provided design, environmental, and construction services to M-1 Rail. These include pavement evaluation, geotechnical investigation, sewer condition survey, environmental Preliminary Site Investigation, inspection, field testing, and laboratory testing of materials. We also tracked all concrete placements to facilitate quality-based incentives/disincentives for the contractor. The QLine opened to rave reviews in May 2017, and is transforming the commercial and social fabric of the city in positive ways.
Gordie Howe International Bridge
The Gordie Howe International Bridge (previously known as the Detroit River International Crossing) is a planned bridge and border crossing to be constructed across the Detroit River. The bridge will connect the United States and Canada by linking I-75 and I-94 in Detroit, Michigan, with Highway 401 in Windsor, Ontario. This route will provide uninterrupted traffic flow, as opposed to the current configuration on the nearby Ambassador Bridge – which connects to city streets on the Canadian side. This long-awaited new bridge will be the largest trade crossing between the United States and Canada upon completion.
Somat is performing environmental due diligence and geotechnical investigation services as the Owner’s Representative Consultant prior to and during construction of the new bridge. Several challenges are being addressed at the site, including pre-existing salt mines, underground storage tanks, and contaminated groundwater. We were assigned 47 properties to identify such potentially hazardous, contaminated, or polluting materials present at these properties, and determine the best path forward.
DWSD/GLWA As-Needed Services
Somat provides a full range of engineering and environmental services to one of the nation’s leading water/wastewater entities as it transitions from a city utility to a regional authority. We hold multiple as-needed engineering and environmental services prime contracts with DWSD/GLWA, and have performed over 60 multi-disciplinary tasks ranging from feasibility studies to final design and construction oversight. Our services have included geotechnical investigations, structural condition assessments, environmental studies, topographic surveys, hydraulic modeling, preparation of construction plans and specifications, regulatory compliance, permitting, construction engineering services, material testing and quality control, forensic evaluations, and non-destructive testing in the Metro Detroit area. Our work has encompassed water mains, sewer pipes, pump stations, roadways, buildings, and underground structures.
We have also provided a variety of oversight support services, including design recommendation workshops, technical oversight of design, coordination between owner and contractors, coordination with the regulatory and permitting authorities, quality assurance programs, progress meetings, shop drawing reviews, pay estimates, training activities, security surveillance, project schedules, and documentation.
NEORSD Capital Improvement Plan Program Management
An integral part of Greater Cleveland’s long-term Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) planning effort, the NEORSD’s available funds for their Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) stretched over a four-year period. They needed to address both regulatory driven, and renewal, replacement, and upgrade driven, capital improvements at their three wastewater treatment plants and within their collection system. The regulatory driven improvements associated with NEORSD’s CSO Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) were estimated at $2 billion for the collection system, and up to $170 million for related wet-weather plant improvements at the treatment plants. These included renewals, replacements, and upgrades, along with collection system rehabilitation projects over the subsequent decade.
Somat provided both engineering and program management expertise to this major water/wastewater utility and its prime consultant. Our contributions included program management services, field survey and other related field investigations, geotechnical investigations, analysis, document control, and reporting associated with the engineering planning and preliminary design activities for the NEORSD’s CIP projects. Multiple Somat employees were embedded at the NEORSD CIP PM office. We ably assisted the team in achieving the goals of efficient and cost-effective program management, successful implementation of the CIP, and managing specific design and construction projects to minimize change orders and costs.
Little Caesars Arena
Little Caesars Arena is the new home of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons, finally bringing the four major professional Detroit sports teams to downtown. The state-of-the-art facility will hold nearly 20,000 spectators, located in the new sports and entertainment district in the heart of Detroit, and near the current homes of the Detroit Lions (Ford Field) and Detroit Tigers (Comerica Park). It will also include shops, restaurants, hotels, residences, and commercial developments. The arena is 8 stories tall, has a glass roof for year-round use (including connecting surrounding buildings), and a 37,300 square-foot practice ice rink.
Somat provided specialized construction inspection and quality assurance services to the owner during the arena’s construction. Our services have included participation in progress meetings and pre-installation meetings, providing full-time inspector-testers, and performing electronic data management for real-time sharing of data and results with stakeholders. We have inspected and/or tested steel reinforcement concrete, precast concrete, waterproofing installation, structural steel, painting, structural grout, masonry, and related sitework, among other elements.
Ludington Power Plant Reservoir Interior Ramp Remediation
The interior ramp to the Ludington Pumped Storage Power Plant required remediation. This hydroelectric power plant is jointly owned by the two major utility companies in Michigan, Consumers Energy and DTE Energy, and there was a minuscule window for shutdown due to the critical nature of its energy-producing operations.
Somat was chosen over three large national engineering firms to conduct the project. We performed a structural assessment of the existing condition of the ramp, examined previous repairs made, evaluated various rehabilitation alternatives, and selected the most feasible and cost-effective alternative for the rehabilitation. During the design phase, we prepared drawings and cost estimates. We selected the most feasible and cost-effective rehabilitation alternative, without disruption to the plant, resulting in a successful remediation.
DTW Airport Terminals and Buildings
The transformation of Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) to the best airport in the US includes two new terminals, a hotel, hangars, a power plant, and the largest single structure airport parking deck. The growth of DTW into one of the largest airline hubs in the country and a leading gateway to both Asia and Europe for Delta Airlines has been over two decades in the making. With the resurgence of the Michigan economy, the airport is also experiencing record growth in local passenger travel. Between accommodating national and international travelers transferring to various destinations, and the local population’s needs, these award-winning facilities are put to heavy use, and the quality of engineering and construction shows.
Somat has continuously participated in nearly every aspect of engineering of these terminals and buildings at DTW since the inception of this expansion in 2001, including geotechnical investigations, environmental assessments, construction inspection and material testing, and site/civil work. Our performance has received accolades from the owners throughout this period.
DTW Airport Pavements
The transformation of Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) to the best airport in the US also includes the addition of a new parallel runway, and reconstruction of all major runways, taxiways, and aprons. Major construction work included full-depth reconstruction of runways and taxiways, and the demolition of existing pavement and structures.
Somat has applied its rigorous and innovative approaches to the design, construction oversight, and quality assurance of these pavements. As with the new terminals and buildings at DTW, Somat has also continuously participated in nearly every aspect of engineering of these pavements since expansion commenced in 2001. This includes geotechnical investigations, environmental assessments, construction inspection and material testing, and site/civil work. Again, our performance has received accolades from the owners throughout this period.